Photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
On Friday, the MTA unveiled custom doors designed to protect the city’s subway system from future floods. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy crippled Lower Manhattan, as well as most other parts of the city, with a 13-foot surge of water. Now, five years later, the MTA is installing custom-made, marine doors, equipped with inflatable gaskets to seal out water to be installed at the bottom of the subway’s stairwell (h/t WSJ). In addition to these doors, other stations will get metal hatch doors below street subway grates, fabric curtains to block flowing water and a system of interlocking stop logs at the entrance of some stations.
MTA Chairman, Joe Lhota, reveals metal hatches under subway grate, photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
Totally wrecked by Sandy, the Whitehall Street station’s Broadway entrance has a 3,000-pound marine door, bolted at the bottom of its stairwell. The $350,000 door quickly locks and can endure 14 feet of water above street level. The station’s door is one of 24 to be installed in Lower Manhattan and one out of the nearly 3,500 closures needed to protect the system in the event of a Category 2 storm with a significant surge.
According to the MTA, about 85 percent of the repair projects are either finished or underway. Other closures, funded by the $7.6 billion post-Sandy repair budget, include large metal doors at the South Ferry subway station, which are able to close at the top of escalators to prevent water from entering. At the Canal 1-train station, the MTA has put in a fabric curtain that blocks water from flowing down the station’s stairway. Curtains will be installed at 68 entrances for $400,000 each.
Whitehall Street Station after Hurricane Sandy, photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
The MTA also announced on Sunday its decision to create a division that specifically focuses on weather issues. The new group will coordinate the transit system’s response to storms, blackouts and heatwaves.
Conceptual rendering of Bayswater Park via the Mayor’s office
Outside of Manhattan, other Sandy-destroyed neighborhoods will be getting much-needed repairs. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday, a new $145 million project for the Rockaways that includes building new fields and bathrooms at Bayswater Park, a raised shoreline around the Edgemere neighborhood and a new park at Beach 88th Street.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this weekend a $354 million project aimed to improve the water quality of Long Island’s Western Bays, moving sewage to an abandoned aqueduct, as the New York Post reported. “This project will permanently remove tens of billions of gallons of sewage from the Western Bays, restoring our natural barriers to extreme weather,” Cuomo said.
As a way to remember both the devastation Hurricane Sandy caused to the city’s transportation system and the rapid response of transit workers during this disaster, the New York Transit Museum opened a new exhibition called “Bringing Back the City: Mass Transit Responds to Crisis.” On display through September 2018, the exhibit examines the response of the transit system through key events like 9/11, the 2003 Northeast blackout, the blizzard in 2011 and Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Learn more about the museum’s exhibition here.
- The Urban Lens: Remembering the darkness of Hurricane Sandy five years later
- Study: New York City could get hit with a flood every five years instead of every 500
- City scales back storm-protection project in Red Hook